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Residents are being warned about letting strangers into their homes after an Orangeburg woman reported a suspicious incident involving someone claiming to represent her burglar alarm company.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said his office will check out suspicious visitors.

“If anyone comes to your door, alarm salesman or any other door-to-door salesperson, call us," Ravenell said.

"We don’t mind checking on these individuals who are approaching you. And whatever you do, do not let them inside your home,” he said.

The woman says a man claiming to represent her alarm company asked to enter her Beech Drive residence at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

He was posing as an employee of Moni Alarm Company, according to a sheriff's office incident report.

The woman said the man asked if the keypad for her alarm was reset due to a recent transition within the company, the incident report states.

The woman did not let the man in the house and the man returned to his car and left the residence.

The woman said she called her alarm company and they informed her they were switching over to Brink’s Home Security, but did not send out any servicemen.

The alarm company informed the woman that the keypad did not need resetting and told her to not let the subject into the house.

The unknown subject was reportedly a white male wearing a white shirt and khaki bottoms with a badge hanging around his neck.

"Brink’s Home Security service calls are done only at the customer’s request," Brink’s Marketing Communications Manager Sherry Sutton said. "We do not go to a customer’s home without an appointment. All valid service calls will be made by a technician with a work order on Brink’s Home Security paperwork."

"If they have not requested a service call, they should not let them into their home," Sutton continued. "If they refuse to leave, they should contact the police."

The Federal Trade Commission has some consumer tips to avoid becoming a victim of an alarm or home security scam.

Here’s what to look out for:

• Sales agents who say they represent your current security company and want to upgrade or install a new system. Or a sales person may claim that your security company has gone out of business and say they’ve taken over your account. They might insist that you buy new equipment and sign new contracts.

If that happens, call your current company to confirm, using the phone number on the paperwork you already have.

• Sales agents who push their way into your home, or refuse to leave.

It’s always safer to say no to someone on your doorstep before they come in, rather than trying to get a salesperson out of your home. Firmly tell the person no. If they continue to pressure you, close the door and call the police.

• High-pressure or scare tactics, limited time offers and pressure to “act now” to protect yourself from supposed crime sprees in your neighborhood are often signs of a scam. Report it to the FTC.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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